Women’s soccer still first after splitting weekend pair

The VCU women’s soccer team dropped its first game of the season on Friday night taking a 2-1 loss while playing in a steady downpour at Delaware.

On Sunday, the Rams responded with a convincing 3-0 win over Towson to regain the top position in the Colonial Athletic Association. The Rams finished the weekend with an 11-4 overall record and a 4-1 conference record.

Eerily similar to an earlier game this season at cross-town rival Richmond, Friday night’s game against Delaware began with rain pouring down from the skies. The opportunistic Blue Hen offense scored the first goal of the conference season against the stingy VCU defense.

Shannon Alger, Delaware’s assist leader, scored the first goal of the game in the 17th minute, slipping the wet ball past Rams’ goalkeeper Lauren Hardison.

Rallying around the tough play of midfielder Sandra Anger, the offense kept possession of the ball for most of the rest of the first half. VCU showed the determination that kept the team at the top of the conference all season by scoring the tying goal six minutes before halftime.

Forward Solfrid Andersen set up a ball for Anger, who put it past otherwise solid Delaware keeper Bonnie Mills for her seventh goal of the season. But the weather continued to deteriorate, and the Blue Hens took advantage of sloppy VCU defense. Alger penetrated the Rams’ back line and scored an unassisted goal in the 72nd minute. Despite several scoring opportunities in the last 15 minutes, the Rams offense couldn’t score the equalizer.

Sunday morning in Towson, playing with better weather, the Rams responded to the tough loss. Displaying their traits of tough defense and offensive attacks from all directions, VCU controlled play from the opening kickoff. Midfielder Leigh Anthony scored in the 16th minute of the game to give the Rams the lead, assisted by CAA co-leader in goals, Jen Parsons. It was Anthony’s fifth goal of the season.

The VCU defense only allowed four shots all game. The back line of Jennifer Woodie, Karolina Straby, Shelley Lyle, and Solveig Haaland got back to solid marking and timely slide tackles to dominate an aggressive Tiger attack. In the 80th minute, Anger scored her eighth goal of the season, assisted by Andersen for the second straight game.

Parsons added her conference leading twelfth goal of the season in the 85th minute to seal the game for the Rams. She was assisted by substitute Amanda Farina. Hardison played the entire game in the goalkeeper’s box, making sure nothing slipped by.

VCU continues their longest road trip of the season on Friday night at No. 14 James Madison before traveling to Northern Virginia on Sunday to face George Mason. The games will prepare the Rams for the final two home games of the year the following weekend against CAA frontrunners Old Dominion and William and Mary.

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